Before addressing the most common andropause symptoms, it’s important to understand where the term originated.
At this point, all of us should be aware of what our female partners encounter when they go through menopause. This is typically a major milestone in their lives, and their bodies experience a number of changes that all center around their sex hormones ceasing production. While the symptoms for women are obvious, there has been much debate over whether or not a similar process occurs for males.
The argument behind male menopause, or what some prefer to refer to as “andropause” stems from the fact that to this point there is no definitive proof that it exists. This is because in men, our sex hormones—namely, testosterone—do not ever fully cease production. In addition, the amount of testosterone, or lack thereof, affects individuals in a number of different ways.
However, as more and more research is conducted into andropause in men, some general patterns and symptoms have emerged. This also has led to andropause treatment—which typically focuses on ways to slow down or even promote the production of testosterone.
Before becoming too concerned about your own andropause symptoms, and certainly before attempting andropause treatment, it is essential to have an open and honest discussion with your doctor. A full physical, blood test, and even some uncomfortable questions are all necessary before determining how to proceed.
That said, there are some general andropause symptoms that, if you are experiencing any or all of, could warrant that trip to the physician. These include:
- Weight gain
- Loss of muscle mass and/or bone density
- Loss of libido and/or erectile dysfunction
1. Andropause Symptom: Fatigue
Men who are most likely to experience symptoms of male menopause known as andropause often happen to be at or near the peak stress points of their lives. For most of us, by the time we’re in our 40s and 50s, we’re at the height of our careers, have a family, and are indebted in the form of mortgages, credit cards, car loans, and other obligations. Is it really that hard to understand that we may be a bit tired?
However, fatigue associated with andropause goes beyond being worn out by the day-to-day grind. It manifests in lack of focus or motivation and overall decreased energy levels. Things that you used to handle with relative ease—like housework, long drives, or staying up a bit late to catch up on some Netflix with your partner, suddenly become herculean tasks. If you are noticing prolonged periods where you are feeling abnormally tired in all aspects of your life, including downtime, then this could be a sign of andropause.
2. Andropause Symptom: Weight Gain
Around this time in our lives, it’s also a bit expected that we just aren’t taking as much care of our bodies as we did when we were younger. However, while some male weight gain is to be expected as we age, sometimes where that weight is showing up can be a clue to possible andropause. As testosterone levels decrease, we become more susceptible to weight gain, and it can continue to come on even as we exercise seemingly harder than before.
If you’re finding that all those extra pounds appear to specifically concentrate in the form of belly fat, then it may be time to head to the doctor to have your hormone levels checked out.
3. Andropause Symptom: Loss of Muscle Mass and/or Bone Density
Typically what comes hand in hand with the increase in weight is a loss in muscle mass and tone. With less testosterone, you aren’t burning through fat in the same way, nor building/maintaining muscle. This means those sculpted biceps and abs are going to become much harder, if not impossible to maintain as the decades go on.
While this is to be expected, a corresponding loss in bone density is less obvious and potentially more worrying. Bone loss creeps up on us because there aren’t any outward symptoms…until of course, one breaks. Declining levels of testosterone are one of the culprits behind bone loss and osteoporosis, so it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about what you can do to prevent this, as you enter into the years wherein andropause symptoms may start to appear.
4. Andropause Symptom: Loss of Libido and/or Erectile Dysfunction
In addition to keeping our muscles and bones strong, testosterone is also responsible for helping us stay ready when the time comes to rise to the occasion in the bedroom. However, low T levels can bring a host of sexually-related issues, which are possibly the main driver behind andropause concerns for men.
A loss of libido or sex drive is a big deal for most of us. While it can lead to some uncomfortable conversations, the only way to overcome it is by confronting it head on. Increasing your physical fitness, changing your diet, and pursuing individual or couples counseling are several of the typical treatments your doctor may recommend.
Perhaps even more distressing are instances of erectile dysfunction. The important thing to keep in mind here is that not being able to perform in every single instance isn’t cause for alarm—in fact, experts say experiencing ed in up to 25% of sexual situations can still be considered normal. However, if you’re having problems upwards of half the time, this could be an obvious sign of lowered testosterone levels and possible andropause.
5. Andropause Symptom: Depression
Hormonal changes can have a drastic effect on our mood and general outlook on life. Mood swings between anger, sadness, happiness, and disinterest can be common signs of decreased testosterone, but the most important mental health aspect to be aware of is depression.
This goes beyond feeling down, and can take the form of constant irritability, excessive drinking or drug use, and increased risk taking. Unfortunately, many older men suffer from undiagnosed depression because of stigma and a lack of understanding of the symptoms. Pay attention to the concerns of your loved ones if they express any—but most importantly, pay attention to yourself, and never hesitate to speak to a doctor about whether or not you should take further steps for your mental health.
Regardless of its specific definition, the effects of andropause are likely to be encountered by a majority of men. Once you are able to identify the symptoms however, andropause treatment becomes an option.
If you’re suffering with andropause, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or other sexual health problems–call the team at Prime Men’s Medical Center in Jacksonville now to schedule an appointment to have a consultation with their experienced and specially trained medical staff. We are proud to be one of Florida’s leading men’s wellness clinics providing ED therapy, PE therapy, acoustic wave therapy, hormone therapy, and many other specialized treatments.